filesI was relaxing for a moment, looking at the 2015 pile of completed tax return copies ready to be mailed to clients. 2015 was our best season in years, due to client growth (thank you!), a stronger economy, and additional layers of IRS tax code complexity. We handled several thousand tax forms, a nice boost from previous years.

Only 20 million to go

Based on IRS data, Americans filed over 132 million tax returns as of April 17, with about 20 million still to be filed. While it feels like we just filed all 132 million returns, about 60% of them were actually filed by accountants and tax professionals.

We’ve been around the “block”

While new clients came to Bach, James, Mansour & Company for a variety of reasons, many commented that there were fewer firms like BJM to choose from. Mid-sized independent accounting firms are slowly becoming extinct. Here are a few reasons why that may be happening:

  • Mergers. A number of independent firms like BJM have been acquired by big firms and conglomerates. I don’t want us to lose touch with our clients, which is the basis of our PartnerPersonalizedSM approach.
  • Software. Intuit announced that TurboTax net unit sales went up again in 2015. Thanks to increased IRS complexity, we ended up taking over more TurboTax work-in-progress than in previous years.
  • Foam Finger Filers. This year, it seemed like there were more strip mall tax preparation services than nail salons (not that there’s anything wrong with nail salons). How anyone can trust their taxes to someone who spent six weeks learning US Tax Code is beyond me.

There is a target market for all of these independent CPA alternatives, but if you’re reading this article, you’re probably not part of that target market.

A CPA relationship is like a marriage…

Some of our clients jokingly compare the relationship with their accountant to a marriage. With tongue-in-cheek, here’s why I think it’s such a good analogy:

  • The relationship grows over time as we learn more about you.
  • Success requires excellent mutual communication.
  • We know all your secrets.
  • You never spend enough time with us.
  • It’s tough to make a change.

Looking out for your financial best interests

While we’re “nerds” by trade, we do understand the concepts of value and customer service. The value of a good CPA business relationship is measured in a variety of ways. I guess this paragraph is somewhat self-serving, but I wanted to highlight why our clients say they stay with us for an average of over 15 years:

  • You pay for services rendered. We don’t make money on the side selling high-interest tax refund loans, insurance policies, or other commissioned financial products.
  • We share our knowledge and expertise. Every tax return, financial review, or business formation includes 50 years of experience. What takes us an hour could take someone else a day to accomplish.
  • We’re neutral. We’re like a doctor specializing in your financial health. Does an 80+ year-old person really need portfolio growth (and broker commissions), or should income be most important? We provide insight that can extend your financial life.
  • We’re here to help. Need a letter to the bank to help secure a loan? Sure. Want help completing your child’s scholarship application? Give us a call.

It’s after April 16 and we’re still here

Why am I still here after all of the strip mall offices and call centers have closed? Well, first of all we still need to get through those 20 million remaining returns. I’m kidding, but there’s still a lot of work to be done as we provide support and value to our clients year-round. I’m also an entrepreneur like many of our clients. I like being the boss and ensuring that we’re always available when you need us, during tax season and beyond.

Please give us a call if you have any 2015 financial or tax questions. Have a great summer, and don’t forget to pay your estimated taxes!

Neal Bach, CPA